Makati court postpones arraignment of Maria Ressa on 2nd cyber libel charge

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 04 2020 11:27 PM | Updated as of Dec 04 2020 11:57 PM

Makati court postpones arraignment of Maria Ressa on 2nd cyber libel charge 1
Rappler CEO Maria Ressa arrives at the Pasig Regional Trial Court, with her lawyers, for her arraignment in connection with the 5th tax evasion charges filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) against her and Rappler Holdings Incorporated on July 22, 2020. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - A Makati court on Friday postponed the arraignment of Rappler CEO Maria Ressa for her second cyber libel case after she questioned the criminal charge against her.

Ressa, through her lawyer Theodore Te, filed a motion to quash the information on Thursday, arguing that the allegations in the second charge do not constitute an offense as sharing a newspaper article cannot be considered online libel, according to the Supreme Court.

"The judge deferred the arraignment because of the motion to quash and so the prosecution was given before December 11 to comment. And so we will take it from there kung anong gagawin ng court sa motion to quash," Te said.

The motion is set for hearing on December 11. The court gave the prosecution before December 11 to file its comment on Ressa’s motion.

The second charge, also filed by businessman Wilfredo Keng, accused Ressa of defaming Keng in sharing screenshots of a 2002 Philippine Star article linking Keng to the killing of a Manila councilor and other illegal activities.

That article was cited by Rappler in its 2012 article on Keng.

Ressa posted the tweet 3 days after her arrest for the 1st cyber libel case in February last year, also filed by Keng, over which she and former Rappler writer/researcher Reynaldo Santos, Jr. were convicted of cyber libel in June this year.

"It’s my 9th arrest warrant under this administration. It’s obviously political harassment, it’s meant to intimidate us, I’m meant to stop you from tweeting newspaper articles. So, good luck to all of us," she said.

Ressa insisted she was just stating a non-defamatory factual statement in sharing the article.

"I feel like I will put my trust in the justice system, but we will fight. I guess by now, after the 9th one, they have to realize I am not gonna shut up. When you have first-have evidence of injustice of abuse of power, you have to call it out. That’s what journalists do," she said.

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